Royal Group Yet to Confirm Start Date on Skyscraper

Cambodian conglomerate The Royal Group says it must raise more capital before a launch date is set on its 36-floor skyscraper planned for the corner of Monivong and Russian Boulevards in Phnom Penh.

Jake Montross, business finance manager for The Royal Group, said yesterday that the company was still in discussions with investors abroad, who have not yet come up with all the financing needed for the project to go ahead.

“The reason why we haven’t come out with any public statement is because it is not a done deal,” Mr Montross said. “It’s a concept right now. That is all it is.

“It is something we are trying to make. But the reality is that it is a difficult market,” he added.

A model of the building designed by MAP Architects in Hong Kong appeared on display in the foyer of the Hotel Cambodiana on Sunday. But Mr Montross said there “is still a lot of work left to do” and that Royal Group did not “want to put any unofficial news in the market” prematurely.

Last month, South Korea’s Seoul-based Hanil Engineering & Construction announced it had again halted construction on Gold Tower 42 on Monivong Boulevard while the company’s debt was restructured.

The news followed an announcement from the South Korean Posco Engineering & Construction company that the $300-million Star River project, which consists of three 45-story residential buildings near the Tonle Bassac river in Phnom Penh, would also halt construction until more financing became available.

Other projects, such as the Vattanac Capital building being built by Vattanac Bank, have moved along at a snail’s pace—the project began in 2005.

Still, if financing comes through for the project, The Royal Group would hope to see work on the building commence in the first quarter of 2011, Mr Montross said.

The Royal Group is hoping to tap into an office space market that will cater for companies looking to list on Cambodia’s stock exchange, as well as major players such as Chevron who are expected to start extracting oil from an off-shore location by the end of next year.

Steven Higgins, CEO of ANZ Royal Bank, said the bank was eyeing The Royal Group’s project due to its promise to provide the market with high-quality, A-grade office space.

“We are looking for a building where we can have naming rights and a few floors,” he said, adding that if The Royal Group took longer than expected to complete the project the bank would not hesitate to look at other developments of a similar standard.

Mr Higgins declined to comment on whether or not ANZ Royal Bank was financing part of the project.


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